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Pawlenty isn't convinced Romney will win Minnesota

Posted by: under 2012 Presidential election Updated: February 1, 2012 - 9:58 AM

By Baird Helgeson

Former Gov. Tim Pawlenty on Wednesday could not guarantee that GOP presidential front-runner Mitt Romney would win the Minnesota caucuses next week.

In a conference call hours before Romney's scheduled visit to Eagan, Pawlenty said the low turnout of the state's caucuses make predictions difficult.

"I think he will do well, but I certainly can't predict who will win," said Pawlenty, who became Romney's campaign co-chairman after dropping out of the presidential race after the Iowa caucuses.

The former Massachusetts governor is coming off a strong win in a bitterly contested Florida primary, clearly establishing himself as the front-runner. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum and Texas Rep. Ron Paul are also vying for the GOP nomination.

Pawlenty said Gingrich has a long history visiting the state and Paul's grassroots supporters could give him a much stronger finish than his last-place poll numbers indicate.

In 2008, Romney crushed Sen. John McCain in the Minnesota caucuses 41 percent to 22 percent. McCain went on to win the nomination.

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